Tarun Kanojia's one of those wonderful young professionals coming of age into the new millennium with busy-bee lifestyles of constant motion. Between living out "ideas in Adventure, Hospitality, Conferences and Educational Tourism," through his young company "Questrails," he does however manage to sit/stand still just long enough every now and again,... to make images and music on his new computer.
"Lets say I never would have been doing this. I was happy with just a little bit of guitar-playing for my own pleasure. My old "two-man band" had become just a sort of blast from the past, and music in a way was over in terms of thinking about it as a profession. I can and do still write music in the traditional sense, and also do the easy listening stuff, but recently got introduced to MIDI-writing by Rohit, my first man in the two men band.
"Rohit got himself a computer about a year before I did and kept showing me what he could do with a fascinating sequencer-software called "Cakewalk" that'd been bundled with his sound-card. He's proficient with the cut paste job and lots more (I still don't know half the tech jargon), but doesn't have a synth and midi interface, so it was just the audio data stuff. And he's a self-taught guy. We both actually are that way (he just learns faster than me anyway).
"Things changed for me too with the new assembled PC I got myself in Dec 99. Along came the basic bundled version of Cakewalk too, and thought I'd experiment with audio line-in, add an effect or two and make a guitar-only song once in a while. Worse still, I was in touch with Shankar whom I'd met at a wild guitar party to which he came alongwith his pocket sequencer (nice gadget),.. and I was interested right then and there. Down the line, Shankar and I met at friends' quite often, and at that time he was looking for new artists for the first IDEA CD. I got a friend of mine to him (remember the NEW DELHI act on the last CD???) and thought it was over.
"In time, along comes Shankar and gives me his finished 1st IDEA CD, suggesting it was now time for me too to give digital a shot, and ALSO, he wanted me to compile a real-life journal alongside (of an independent foray into MIDI-computing, and computer-sequencing), that could be shared with browsers of the 2nd gazette.
"So I sez to meself sez I: Sure, why not give it a shot?, see what I can do with my computer for his CD; maybe it could be a learning experience, see what comes out; nothing to lose anyway; and I'd probably also save some valuable internet-time that I'd otherwise waste, by being offline a bit more in my spare time. Besides, I'm into music and images anyway, aren't I?
"My introduction to creating and working with e-music was to be conducted entirely on my own on my own Celeron 433/64MB multimedia PC, nothing more than that, and this journal was to proceed on approximately a weekly-basis as I experimented with MIDI and my comp.
".... and if my work allows me more time to devote to this I will (except for the fact that the rivers and the mountains call more than often and I must follow their call)."
"Till now,.. I have tried to use ready tracks from here and there, change banks and instruments and get some sense out of the whole thing, but it still doesn't really make sense. First of all, setting up the audio inputs from my soundcard was a major hassle (I think it happens when you make your own comp without much hardware knowledge). Then I had to learn how to use inbuilt banks for different sounds."
"Slowly, I've also learned how to make looped drum-tracks with General MIDI and wave-table synthesizer. It wasn't much really but a personal accomplishment, to be able to make a drum track that can go on and on in a loop,.. and it becomes so easy to record a guitar track to it though audio input (specially for me, 'cos I have been repeatedly told that I have no beat and rhythm sense)."
"Though I still don't have a proper line-in made for my guitar, and record with just an open microphone, the results are ok for me,.. for now."
"Now the problems seem to get worse: I want to write better drum tracks. But with specifying the duration, velocity, time measure, and where to start the note all gets a bit too complicated. So I tried things a little more mathematically. Using and placing notes only on 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120, I didn't try anything above that. But imagine in a beat with four measure and in each measure placing fours, that too manually, makes it 16 notes in a beat, and that is sometimes insufficient to make a loop. And when I tried to place notes in the middle they'd shoot to the beginning of the measure."
"After a long conversation with Shanks, I found that snap-to-grid is a good game. Use it to play around at irregular intervals,.. when every note has to be manually placed. God it gets a little frustrating sometimes. Specially when I want to put a note in the middle of a measure. So now it was a bit more easy ~ I could place a note in the middle approximately play and see if it sounds ok and if it doesn't shift a little. Now I will try to work with simple tones from different banks combined with a looped drum track. Lets hope for the best."
"Since writing drums manually was getting a bit too much, I discovered the idea of random drums, the samples of which are nothing short of well-written ones (at least by the standards of a novice). The idea is simple ~ let the computer think and write for you, all you do is direct it. Very much like programming software. Logic, flow-chart and development. Cakewalk is a nice piece of software. I am just beginning to love it."
"If that was not enough, I met Shanks once again and he killed me again. I told him I was experimenting with imaging and all that stuff, and so he pushed me into doing a little better with ideas and ideas. Came back and spent the next 8 hours on the comp resulting in two images (really weird) made from scratch."
"People who get down to listening or seeing my stuff should do it with an open mind and please remember I don't do it professionally but just for fun,.. and its kind of entertaining to spend 4 hours on a single beat to write it properly with a hit and trial agenda, or working on an image with nothing on hand ~ pick up from here and there, put it all together and feel just happy to see the unexplainable. There is no commercial value attached to these small ideas, but there sure is a sentimental one, one of personal achievement, being able to create and recreate without the jazz of a hassle."
Delhi - 110 092 (India)
tel: (91-11) 243 9144, fax: (91-11) 222 5118